• ~Psalm 46:4-5~

    There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
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Spinning

Life feels a little bit overwhelming. There’s just so much going on right now. At school I just got some awesome new equipment that makes me love teaching again. I’m swamped in a good way with wedding photos to edit for my photography business. At home we’re still wading through the terribly dramatic twos. My sister’s getting married soon. Sometimes I feel a little bit dizzy from everything -like that feeling of spinning around until the world looks like a blur. It’s a happy but stressful way to live. The days just sort of blur together.

So I’ve been trying to step back from the chaos. Bri and I have been going for bike rides after school. Hubster and I have been chilling on the couch when I would normally be absorbed by the computer. And I’ve made an effort to reconnect with my girl friends. It’s been so nice to slow down again and enjoy life.

tiny moment amidst a busy day

Today I did my first staged wedding shoot. It’s the first step of a giant project for the premiere wedding venue in my small town. I was positively giddy when I discovered a few weeks ago that I’d gotten the green light for the job. My twitter peeps may remember a secret that I was bursting to share. This was it.

So many things were up in the air for the shoot, including the weather. There were several days when I thought we’d have to (insert screaching brake sounds) post. pone. I had several models cancel for various reasons. But the day came together and went off with only one major hiccup. My very nice, external flash that I paid full price for a month ago (grrr…) decided not to work today. I have a feeling that it will sort itself out, but we didn’t get any of the indoor pictures that I’d planned to capture.

My favorite moment of the day: Bridoodle was traipsing around the gorgeously restored old mansion in her flower girl finery. She was singing one of her favorite songs as she skipped and hopped through the room. A sweet grandmotherly lady asked, “Is she singing Jesus loves me?” I blushed, “No… err… she’s singing ‘You’ll do it. You’ll use the potty. It’s a song from Sesame Street.'” Still giggling about that!

almost pregnant

We had an evening of being almost pregnant a few nights ago. I’ve had plenty of them over the last five years. If my period’s even a day late then I start to worry. There have been many frantic moments where we waited to see if there would be two pink lines or just one on the pregnancy test.

But this time it was different. This time I held the smallest glimmer of hope that it might be for real. Hubs and I joked around with big goofy grins on our faces. He told me to go lay down after dinner so that he could bring me some ice cream. We talked in a silly voice and patted my tummy, while asking Bri if she’d like to be a big sister. I imagined a tiny baby growing inside me and was already loving this future child.

So I was really disappointed when my monthly gift arrived the next morning. I know, I know. It was only one evening of make believe. I can’t even imagine the heartache that must accompany a miscarriage or a stillbirth after months of dreaming. We weren’t even trying to conceive. The sadness that followed me the next day seemed disproportional to the happiness of our little evening.

I guess I’ve been suppressing this baby bug more than I realized. Our plan to wait a year or two makes so much financial sense, and yet my heart and arms are aching for another baby. It’s a good thing I have a newborn session in a few weeks. Maybe that’ll be enough of a fix for now.

i’m just a mom

She stopped me as I was getting into the minivan. “Could you spare some change, Ma’am?” I fished in my purse for my wallet. My nervous energy consumed me and without looking at the clock I knew it read 7:02pm. We were already late for our appointment. We were half finished with our photo shoot, and moving to a second location. My clients sat in their minivan across from me, watching this woman with her curly, greasy hair. Fifty yards away stood a man who looked at us longingly as if we were a mirage.

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She shifted her weight and I realized she was wearing a heavy coat. After an hour and a half of walking around the city, my t-shirt and jeans were damp with my own sweat. I handed her the wadded up $10 bill that had been stashed in my wallet. I’d planned on using it for dinner after the session. Instead I could use my debit card. I certainly wouldn’t be resorting to cooking after this photo shoot. Much less going hungry.

She held the money between her hands as if she were praying. Her eyes were dark with pain and pleading. “Are you a photographer? Do you need an assistant? I have some experience. And I’m a fast learner. I could help you. Please. I need to make some money. We’re so tired of living on the streets.”

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It was humbling. And for the first time in my sheltered life, I didn’t feel afraid, self-righteous or pitying . Instead I felt the weight of this situation. The economy seems so shaky these days. The words “there, but for the grace of God, go I” echoed audibly in my brain.  The fear in her eyes reminded me of a child sinking in a swimming pool. Her words flailed like arms around her. And as much as I’d love to reach out to pull her up, I myself am afraid of falling in.

I drove away with my reply still ringing in my head. “I’m just a mom. I barely make any money at this photography stuff. I’m working a second job to pay the bills. I wish I could help you. But I can’t. Good luck. I hope you find your way.”

I felt like I’d thrown a cork to a drowning woman. But I didn’t have anything else to throw.

My Bags are Packed …

I’ll be heading to Chicago in a few days. There’s this little shindig there, called BlogHer. You might have heard of it. Part of me is ecstatic, but that part of me is being held hostage by the part that’s terrified. I’ve pretty much convinced myself that after this trip I will NEVER, EVER again leave my baby girl’s side. She’d better enjoy this break from me, because for the next sixteen years, I plan to be stuck to her like a bump on a log. (We can even wear matching dresses to the prom!) This trip will be a milestone for us. I’ve never been away from her for so long before. FIVE whole days.

She’ll be staying with Nana and Poppy. I know that my parents will spoil her rotten and that she’ll have a blast. She’ll get to stay up late and eat M&M’s. That part is okay. I love the fact that she has adoring grandparents.

I’m just afraid of all of the “what ifs.” Those tiny worries start to add up when you plan a trip six months in advance. I have a slew of them stashed in the back corners of my brain. What if she chokes on an M&M? What if her cold turns into something serious with a fever of 104F? What if she throws tantrums in public when Mom goes to the store? It’s been really difficult to push those worries aside so that I can trust God to take care of her. In the deepest core of me, I feel that I am solely responsible for her safety.

I know that it’s a ludicrous thought. I know things could go wrong under my watch just like anybody else’s. But like Nemo’s dad, I feel the need to promise that “nothing will ever happen to [her].” I feel the need to be humming in the next room or sitting in the chair beside hers at the table. I feel the need to be close.

I’ve talked myself out of going to this conference about a hundred times. And each time I come back full circle. Hubster often reminds me that I deserve this trip. There are lots of reasons to go. It will be good for everyone involved. Staying home would be selfish and wasteful.

So I’m going to go. I’ll be live-blogging from the mommy-blogger sessions. I’ll be passing out blog cards, meeting friends in real life for the first time and sticking my foot in my mouth. I can’t wait for the photo walk and some of the geek-out sessions. There are souvenirs to purchase and swag bags to haul back up to our room. It’s going to be fun.

But I think my favorite part will be coming back home. My bags are already packed.

No relaxing here.

The theme for day two of seven days is RELAX. Someone’s going to have to remind me what that means again.

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Bri has a nasty cough. Poor thing. She feels awful. We cuddled on the couch a lot today and watched Veggie Tales. Had to miss church. A client stopped by to pick up her order, so I had to clean like mad before she came. Then I had to scramble to put another order through while Bri was napping. (The stores close early on Sunday.) I tried to get some shots in the bath with some chocolate and candles. Somehow the water and fire did not help me relax when my camera was only a foot away.

So here I am, worn and weary. Bri likes to decorate the washer and dryer with magnets. So Hubs and I spell out various words when we pass through.

That reminds me. I still have some laundry left to do. And another order to process. All work and no play…

Can success be harder than failure?

ged12

Last night I drove a couple of hours to visit with three of my oldest and dearest friends. They’re the kind of friends who remember those awkward, embarrassing years of bad hair and weird clothes and love me anyway. The kind of friends I see every couple of years, but who know me so well that we just pick up right where we left off. I love hanging out with them.

The beauty of a friendship like that, is that we have special permission to talk about those issues that are usually off the table. And so the conversation last night eventually turned to a topic I’ve been stewing over for the past few days. Each of us, okay well I take that back … three of the four of us would readily admit that we’ve met with our share of successes and failures over the last ten years. We’ve each conquered some big goals and we’ve felt the sting of rejection on a scale that we never expected. Growing up the four of us would have been lumped into the “most likely to succeed” category. I know that personally, I never really expected to taste failure. And maybe, after feeling like a failure for leaving medical school, I never really believed that I would taste success again.

As my photography business has taken off over the last couple of months, I’ve started to realize that there are a lot of similarities between this time of success and the dark time when I decided to leave medical school. Both consumed my time to the point that I couldn’t go for half an hour without my brain circling back to the topic. Both drew a lot of public scrutiny. Both put me in an uncomfortable situation because of the scrutiny. Both came as a surprise to most people in my little world. Both made me think about the importance of balancing time with family and time at work.

I am afraid that if I’m not careful, I’ll let this new business adventure consume me. It’s hard to know how many sessions to book in a week, because on paper the three sessions that I had lined up this week don’t seem like too much. When you add in 8-10 hours of editing for each session, my week ended up being jam-packed.

When I got back home last night, around midnight, I spent two hours editing. Then I got up with Bridoodle this morning at 6:45 so that I can finish up before my 11am session today. I’m burning the candle at both ends. I still feel that I should be in summer Mommy mode right now. We should be going to the pool, the zoo and on family camping trips. Yet here I am scheduling 35 hours worth of work for myself too.

So anyway, don’t feel too sorry for me. I am LOVING the thrill of this adventure. It has been an amazing experience so far. But be a little bit patient with my haphazard blogging for a little while. I am stretching myself thin these days.

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